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Rhoobarb

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Just like Sam75, I’ve finally decided to do it! After reading all the comments here, then reviewing John Palmer’s “how to”, as well as some other reading, I’ve decided to take the first step into all-grain brewing. I'd really hoped to see it done first-hand, but never got the opportunity. :mad: And I just can't wait! :D

I’ll be using my current 20 qt. brewpot as my sparge water pot. I’m going to a restaurant supply house near me this Saturday to purchase their AL-SP-40 40 qt. ‘wort’ brew pot. (They have them on sale until July 7th!)

Tomorrow, I’m purchasing this Coleman 36 qt. cooler.
And I’ll be outfitting it exactly as it is pictured in the top photo here, with a slotted CPVC manifold.


I already have a homemade wort chiller, but will probably construct a new, larger one. I also do not have a grain mill or a propane burner. My gas oven is modern and may work, but I think a propane burner will be much more effecient. So, those will have to be ordered.

I’ll probably be doing my last extract batch this weekend and my first AG the next. I’m pumped and ecstatic! :D :eek:

Any comments or suggestions are appreciated!
 

Born Brewing Co.

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Rhoobarb, I think you will HAVE to go with a propane burner. There is no way stove top will bring 6 gallons to boil. Good luck, let us know how it goes!! Ask here for help.
 

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I've brought well more than 6 gallons to a boil on my electric stove top. I've yet to have any problems (other than that one batch where my wife wouldn't leave me alone and it boiled over and she got mad at me and i was all like i warned you but you wouldn't listen and she was all like you should have done something about it and i was like i did i told you i couldn't leave and she's still pissed now cause the stove won't come clean).
 
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zprime said:
I've brought well more than 6 gallons to a boil on my electric stove top. I've yet to have any problems (other than that one batch where my wife wouldn't leave me alone and it boiled over and she got mad at me and i was all like i warned you but you wouldn't listen and she was all like you should have done something about it and i was like i did i told you i couldn't leave and she's still pissed now cause the stove won't come clean).
There's the biggest reason to get propane and get the hell outside!!! If nothing else then it's "Your area". :D You shop around and you can get a nice propane setup with large pot as well. Sam's "Had" a georgeous turkey fryer with stainless steel pot (think it was $60) that I saw right after I purchased (and used) an alumunimum one from Home Depot. There gone now but come turkey day this fall I'm betting they'll be back. Then I'll have two burners and ss for the AG setup. :cool:
 
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Rhoobarb

Rhoobarb

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desertBrew said:
There's the biggest reason to get propane and get the hell outside!!! If nothing else then it's "Your area". :D
Now that's funny!

desertBrew said:
... Sam's "Had" a georgeous turkey fryer with stainless steel pot (think it was $60) ...
I looked at the turkey fryer set-ups, but the BTU's on those propane burners seemed low, IIRC. I'm 99% sure I'll want a propane burner as opposed to my stove, just so I can do everything out in the garage and not have to move pots from room to room.
 
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Rhoobarb said:
I looked at the turkey fryer set-ups, but the BTU's on those propane burners seemed low, IIRC. I'm 99% sure I'll want a propane burner as opposed to my stove, just so I can do everything out in the garage and not have to move pots from room to room.
You know I never looked at the btu, but I can get 6g cranking pretty fast. Haven't timed it as I just started full boils with a 155 steep in the middle but I think it would equate to about 15-20 minute range. I'll have to check out the btu rating...
 

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Rhoobarb, check BYO's March 2003 issue. they have an article called "your first infusion mash" that i follow (almost). the temp you mash in at will depend on the style your brewing, and depends on if you want a lighter bodied brew, or a heavier bodied brew. i think he brews a lawnmower style beer, so he goes in a little low. i usually mash in w/ 170 degrees, and it gives me about a 158 degree mash temp. he stirs his mash 2 times an hour. sometimes i do 1, sometimes 2 stirs. you won't lose much heat.
the april 2003 issues is a continuation from march, and it covers the sparging, but you don't have to have the arpil issue. if you you want those articles, and don't have those issues, let me know. i'll fax them, or can just e-mail the mash schedule/directions on the side column of the article.
 

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i got that turkey frier from sam's. it'll bring six gallons of cold water to a vigourous boil in about half an hour. it brings my mash runoff to a boil in about 15, so it ain't the best, but it ain't too shabby. i've gotten about four batches out of the tank too, but i'm thinking i will refill it this weekend anyway cause of murhpy's law and all.

get out of the kitchen asap!!! :D
 
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Rhoobarb

Rhoobarb

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DeRoux's Broux said:
Rhoobarb, check BYO's March 2003 issue. they have an article called "your first infusion mash" that i follow (almost). the temp you mash in at will depend on the style your brewing, and depends on if you want a lighter bodied brew, or a heavier bodied brew. i think he brews a lawnmower style beer, so he goes in a little low. i usually mash in w/ 170 degrees, and it gives me about a 158 degree mash temp. he stirs his mash 2 times an hour. sometimes i do 1, sometimes 2 stirs. you won't lose much heat.
the april 2003 issues is a continuation from march, and it covers the sparging, but you don't have to have the arpil issue. if you you want those articles, and don't have those issues, let me know. i'll fax them, or can just e-mail the mash schedule/directions on the side column of the article.

Thanks for the info! I just started getting BYO four issues ago. If you could just email me the schedule, that would be fantastic! Thanks! I may get those two issues from their backorder dept.

I'm already spending money like a drunken sailor on leave! ;) I just ordered hops from Freshops and I'm going to stop by a place after work and see if they have any propane burners or turkey fry set-ups!
 

DeRoux's Broux

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Rhoobarb said:
Thanks for the info! I just started getting BYO four issues ago. If you could just email me the schedule, that would be fantastic! Thanks! I may get those two issues from their backorder dept.

I'm already spending money like a druken saileor on leave! I just ordered hops from Freshops and I'm going to stop by a place after work and see if they have any propane burners or turkey fry set-ups!
no computer at home, so i'll bring it to work and post it monday.
 
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Rhoobarb

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I bought the 40 qt. brewpot today. Major score! I paid the $43.49 sale price, which was a great deal from the start. I sprung for a cover, which set me back an additional $7.00. It was supposed to have been a pot with a 4mm thick wall. But they sold me the “-H” unit - a 8mm thick pot - for the same price!

I had to clean it pretty thoroughly with warm water and mild soap to get the aluminum dust off the surface. But it was worth the effort. It’s a beautiful piece of kitchen hardware.

Just for yuks, I placed six gallons of plain ol’ water in it and covered it to see how long it would take to come to a boil on my kitchen gas stove. It's been well over an hour now and it has yet to boil. That’s just too long. So, yes, I’m gonna have to buy a propane burner. I found this 75,000 BTU bad boy at REI and there is a store near me, so I’ll probably be getting one.
 
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Rhoobarb

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Born Brewing Co. said:
REI in Geneva/Batavia on Randall Rd?
I didn't know there was one there. No, the one in Oakbrook/Lombard is a little closer to me.
 
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Well, it looks like I’ll be waiting another week before I brew my first AG. Here’s my progress to this point:

I have bought my new brewpot and the cooler over the weekend, and I have The BarleyCrusher on order. I had a propane burner picked out at REI, but while I was at a Farm & Fleet out in the sticks, I found a deal on a turkey fryer set-up with a “170,000 BTU propane burner”. Big mistake! I got it home and it was missing the actual burner and hose connections

So, this weekend, my plans will include a trip back to Farm & Fleet to exchange it or get my money back and to the LHBS to buy a 50 lb. bag of base grain. Also, I still have to get some CPVC to make the manifold for the cooler. I’m chomping at the bit to brew AG, ASAP!
 

DeRoux's Broux

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you should call you first AG = "Tribulation Ale".............

good luck bru-brother. may the patience be with you........
 
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Rhoobarb

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DeRoux's Broux said:
you should call you first AG = "Tribulation Ale".............

good luck bru-brother. may the patience be with you........
I just might, DeRoux! Thanks for the encouragement.

Well, two things went right today - for a change. :) I went to Home Depot at lunchtime and found the CPVC I needed (after going to Menards yesterday and not finding any). And my shipment of hops from Freshops came today!

It's a 3-day weekend, so if I'm really ambitious, I might be able to make a Tribulation Ale this weekend afterall! :cool:
 

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did you get whole hops or pellet hops from them? i'm leary of ordering yeast and hops this time of year. maybe i'm just paranoid? i'd rather pick 'em up myself and haul 'em home in a nice chilled cooler.........but, my HBS doesn't carry some of the newer hops (like the ones for the 90 Minute IPA clone), so I may have to mail order the hops.
 

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I checked out The Barleycrusher website. Pretty cool, but $109, yikes. I am hoping the grain mill I get on ebay for $20 will do the job, simple hopper and adjustable plate grinder (similar to the one I use at HBS). Let us know how that Barleycrusher works for you, maybe I'll upgrade.
 
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Born Brewing Co. said:
Let us know how that Barleycrusher works for you, maybe I'll upgrade.
I got a Barley Crusher several months ago and I LOVE it. This is the first one I have owned so I can't compare it with too many others (just the one at the HBS) but from what I have read and looking at pictures, the grind is great! This mill really is a good deal when compared to others in its class. Many others charge for a handle or a hopper or a mounting plate or a chuck to use a power drill. Not this puppy... it comes complete! I got the 15# hopper which is the only upgrade they offer and with shipping, I got everything for $150. By the time you add up all those pieces parts for other brands, you will rapidly exceed this. It is quality construction, the mounting plate fits perfectly over a 5gal bucket (not included) and the gap adjustment is pretty easy. It comes with my highest recommendations and would be a good addition to your collection when you do get around to upgrading.
 
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Rhoobarb

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DeRoux's Broux said:
did you get whole hops or pellet hops from them? i'm leary of ordering yeast and hops this time of year. maybe i'm just paranoid? i'd rather pick 'em up myself and haul 'em home in a nice chilled cooler.........but, my HBS doesn't carry some of the newer hops (like the ones for the 90 Minute IPA clone), so I may have to mail order the hops.
Whole hops, baby! They seal them in vacuum bags. But it's been in the 90's here, so to be safe, I planned ahead and had them shipped to my workplace and I kept a cooler in the trunk of my car in anticipation of their arrival. When they got here yesterday, I ran out at lunch and got a bag of ice, put the hops in the cooler with the ice and they were comfy all day. They are now at home in my freezer.

Yes, Zepole rocks! I've bought from them several times for kitchen items.

I bought the BarleyCrusher after reading so many great reviews both here and at other forums. I want it to be the first and last mill I buy. Service was quick, too! I ordered it yesterday, they shipped it that day and, accoridng to UPS, it should be here today.!
 
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Well, it's Friday evening and I just finished converting the cooler and making the CPVC manifold. I bought a new propane tank (my first ever, no real man BBQ's with anything other than natural lump charcoal), hooked it up to the burner and tested it out. It works fine!

The BarleyCrusher is ready, my drill set is charged, things are sanitizing as I type this, the hops from Freshops are in the freezer and the 50 lb. bag of Rahr 2-row is in a cool, dry place.

Tomorrow morning, I begin my first AG! :D :eek:

I'm leaving the entire day devoted to this endeavor! I was going to brew in the garage, but they are caling for very nice weather here tomorrow. So, I may very likely move everything to the backyard and get some rays in the process. I may even throw some meat on the smoker while I'm at it!

I'm trying a simple, hoppy American pale ale recipe, which I'll post on the recipe section of the Forum. Wish me luck! If I can, I'll try and take pictures and post them in the near future (that is, if anyone is interested ;) ).
 
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Rhoobarb said:
The BarleyCrusher is ready, my drill set is charged
If you are referring to using a cordless drill on the grain mill, don't be dissapointed if it won't do the trick. I had to put up my Dewalt cordless for a corded drill to get the power required. The starting torque is the trick here. Good luck to you!
 

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Rhoobarb, I was looking at your recipe and saw that your sparge volume may run short. Have you calculated water loss due to grain absorbtion? Looks like you'll lose about 1.23 gallaons based on the 10.25# of grain. You may also lose some volume in your equipment also. Probably no more than .5 to .75 gals. Hope this helps.
 
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Rhoobarb

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DyerNeedOfBeer said:
If you are referring to using a cordless drill on the grain mill, don't be dissapointed if it won't do the trick. ...
Yep. I have a less-than-year old Craftsman 9.6v with 90in./lb. of torque and a back up battery. I love it; it replaced my beloved Milwaukee cordless when it bit the dust after 14 years of service! But you're right, it might still fall short. There's always the 'five digit rotator'. Besides, I could probably use the arm workout! :D


Sudster said:
Rhoobarb, I was looking at your recipe and saw that your sparge volume may run short. ...
Thanks, I had wondered about that, but didn't really know where the range should be. So, maybe something closer to 4.5-5 gals. of sparge water?
 

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Rhoobarb said:
Thanks, I had wondered about that, but didn't really know where the range should be. So, maybe something closer to 4.5-5 gals. of sparge water?

I recently read in Palmer's book ( I think it was Palmer) that you should go into a sparge with the same volume of water that you plan to have for wort at the end of the sparge....SO...if you plan on boiling 6 gallons or so, you'll want at least 6 gallons of sparge water.....
 

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Rhoobarb said:
Thanks, I had wondered about that, but didn't really know where the range should be. So, maybe something closer to 4.5-5 gals. of sparge water?
You are going to lose water by grain absorbtion. You will also lose water due to evaporation during your 90 Min boil . You will also lose water leaving it behind in different places of your system. This is hard to guess since I do not know your system setup. If you don't think you will lose more than .5 gallon then I'd say 5 to 5.25 gallons for sparge.
 
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Rhoobarb

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Thanks everybody! Well, I'm going for a typical 5 gal. batch, so that's the amount I'll use for the sparge. Maybe I'll do an extra half gallon above that, just in case. Now that you mention it, I think I saw that in Palmer's on-line book, too.

No special set up. Rectangular 50 qt. picnic cooler for the mash, batch sparge, big-ass aluminum brew pot and a couple smaller aluminum pots for sparge water, etc. 6.5 gal. Glass carboy.

I'm pretty much replicating this procedure and set up.

It's past midnight and I gotta hit the hay if I'm gonna pull this all off tomorrow. But I'll check in here tomorrow morning before I begin anything! :D

Thanks again - and keep the feedback coming!
 
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Well, I have my first AG under my belt! I began at noon and was done by 6:45pm. I took pictures along the way and may link them separately to my webpage in a day or two. It would have gone quicker, but a couple of things happened:

:mad: I didn't hit my target mash temperature of 155oF. I heated the water to 160oF and when I put it in the mash tun, it stayed at a constant 145oF So, I decided to let it go for 90 mins. instead of 60 mins. I don't know if that was smart or not, it just seemed like a good idea at the time. At least I know the cooler / mush tun works great at holding a temperature! So, next time, I'll heat the water to ~170 - 175oF.

:mad: I had trouble recirculating at first. It turned out that during stirring the manifold I made had come loose from the connecction to the spigot. The spigot had gotten clogged with grain, so I had to dump everything into my boil pot, fix the manifold, then dump it back in. After that, things went fine, but I'm sure that didn't help matters at all! The manifold fix will be easy. I'm also thinking about a stainless steel screen at the bottom in addition to the manifold.

Other than that, things went fine. Once you get past the additional steps of mashing and sparging, the rest is the same as doing an extract batch, only on a bigger scale. Having a couple of homebrews along the way helped, too!

The BarleyCrusher rocks! Dyer, I had to put the cordless drill on the highest torque setting, but it turned The BarleyCrusher handle easily and I never had to change out the battery. It raced through the 10-1/4 lbs. of grain in less than two minutes! And upping the sparge water volume to five gallons as Sudster and Orrelse suggested was a smart move. At the end of the 90 min. boil, I ended up with about 5-1/2 gallons in the primary! The beer has a nice straw golden color. QBrew predicted an OG of 1.056; my OG was 1.050

Thanks to everyone here who offered advice and/or encourgement! I'm glad I did this 'first run' outdoors. I had the garden hose nearby to help during the mini disasters and it gave me room to spread out. It would have been a little tougher to do in the garage. I want to do at least a couple more sessions outdoors before Fall and Winter come, forcing me to the garage.

It was near 90oF outside yesterday and I got plenty of sun. By the time I was done, I was sweaty and pooped! Took a shower, ordered a pizza and was in bed by 10:30pm!
 
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Rhoobarb said:
:mad: I didn't hit my target mash temperature of 155oF. I heated the water to 160oF and when I put it in the mash tun, it stayed at a constant 145oF So, I decided to let it go for 90 mins. instead of 60 mins. I don't know if that was smart or not, it just seemed like a good idea at the time. At least I know the cooler / mush tun works great at holding a temperature! So, next time, I'll heat the water to ~170 - 175oF.


When I went to my AG class he told us how to hit your desired temp. 1st off you have about 5m before you're to let it rest so you got some play time. Basically, have some hotter water (I keep near boiling water ready) and some ice cold water on hand. In your instance you'd add some (1q?) hotter water while stirring and recheck your temp. If your going for a 1.25 ratio add a 1:1 ratio initially and check. If on target add the rest of the strike water or your hotter/colder water. You'd still have plenty of liq with your initial 1:1 as it hasn't absorbed the h20 yet. My two AG's under the belt with this method I've hit exact temps both times.
 

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Rhoobarb said:

:mad: I didn't hit my target mash temperature of 155oF. I heated the water to 160oF and when I put it in the mash tun, it stayed at a constant 145oF So, I decided to let it go for 90 mins. instead of 60 mins. I don't know if that was smart or not, it just seemed like a good idea at the time. At least I know the cooler / mush tun works great at holding a temperature! So, next time, I'll heat the water to ~170 - 175oF.


Congrats Rhoobarb!

Just remember your strike water temperature will be based on the number of pounds of grain, water to grain ratio(quarts/pounds), grain temp and mash tun temp.

Aint it great!:D
 
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Sudster said:
Congrats Rhoobarb!

Just remember your strike water temperature will be based on the number of pounds of grain, water to grain ratio(quarts/pounds), grain temp and mash tun temp.

Aint it great!:D
Yes it is! Good point on the strike water temperature being based on the number of pounds of grain. I really should have stated that I would use the same amount of water, but heat it higher, when I do this recipe again.

And I will! I had a couple of sips of the sample I took at OG. It is bitter - maybe even harsh. But I just bottled a Red that had the same bitterness at OG. I tasted it at bottling time and was great even before carbonation!

I just posted a pictorial update of my first brew day yesterday. Click here to view it!
 

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Well, my strike temp was 175 and I mashed at 160. Your experience was just opposite of mine, but hey, it's done!

Today was supposed to be my second AG batch, but I wound up putting up a singset all day, so it didn't happen.

Congrats, man!
 

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Sudster said:
Congrats Rhoobarb!

Just remember your strike water temperature will be based on the number of pounds of grain, water to grain ratio(quarts/pounds), grain temp and mash tun temp.

Aint it great!:D
rhoobarb, i go by a calculation i got from an article by Ray Daniels (wrote Designing Great Beers) on All About Beer's web page (http://www.allaboutbeer.com/homebrew/water.html). It has been working great for me, and I 've been getting 5.5 g in my primary (each system will vary some). My sparge times usualy run between 75 - 90 minutes w/ the amounts of water used. you'll want to be careful of over sparging also. it'll lend to undesirable off flavors in the brew. Most people I know use 1.33 quarts of water per pound of grain for mash water, at about 170 degrees. they sparge for 90 minutes or until the run-off reaches a ph of 5.8.

the resulting mash temp is dependent on the style of brew your making. stouts have higher mash temps, for more body, or lower strike temp for less body for say, a Kolsch or Pilz . it may be so that the temp is relevant to the # of grains, but i've never heard or read that before :confused: if so, i'd like some info on that.........always looking for more info :D
 

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DeRoux's Broux said:
it may be so that the temp is relevant to the # of grains, but i've never heard or read that before :confused: if so, i'd like some info on that.........always looking for more info :D
if you think about it (granted i am not an ag brewer...yet) both the quantity AND temperature of the grains being added should make a different in the temperature needed for strike water. the situation is analogous to adding a hot coal or cold ice pack to the strike water. the combination of the two components causes the warmer to give some of its heat to the cooler until the two reach equilibrium. the more heat or larger volume of the warmer substance (relative to the volume of the cooler) the higher the equilibrium temp. will be.
 

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DeRoux's Broux said:
.. it may be so that the temp is relevant to the # of grains, but i've never heard or read that before :confused: if so, i'd like some info on that.........always looking for more info :D
The best advise I can give is for you to get a copy Of ProMash. It has all the strike water calculations. You enter in the grain to water ratio you want and the strike temp you are trying to achieve and it will tell you the rest. Since I
bought it I have hit volumes exactly where I want them. I am almost there with strike temps. But the weather keeps changing :D
 

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i've been using ProMash for a while, but don't use the water calculations part. i'm sure it works great though.... just my habit i guess? i'll give it a whirl on my next batch!
 
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